Now if you are a comic book fan like myself, then I am sure that you have heard the recent news that DC Comics are going to release a series of prequels to the now legendary 'Watchmen' mini-series. Granted, this newsworthy piece has caused a lot of controversy over the internet, especially since the initial creators do not want any part of this 'event' what so ever. Still, what of the original works, huh? What of...



Well, for those of you not in the know, this was a story created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in the mid 1980's, about a hand full of heroes trying to find their way in a dark and strange new world. Plus, in addition to this, these heroes were based on the Charlton heroes, and it is set in an alternate Earth of Alan and Dave's joint devising.

The History Of Charlton

In 1931, an Italian American construction entrepreneur, called John Santangelo, decided to get out of the bricklaying business, and begun a highly successful musical publishing business in Yonkers, New York. However, in 1934, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment, because his publications were in direct violation of copyright law. Nevertheless, whilst inside, he begun a friendship with attorney, Ed Levy, whom aided John upon his release, to set up a legitimate printing plant which eventually became Charlton Comics - circa 1944.


Over the first couple of years, Charlton tried its best to find its footing in the innovative world of comic book publications. They released kids comics, western comics, love comics, celebrity comics, and anthology titles too. But it wasn't until they acquired from Marvel such creators as Dick Giordano, Steve Ditko, and many, many, more, that they then began to expand upon their existing roster of superheroes, and started to become a recognized 'name' in their own rite.

The Charlton Heroes At DC

In the 1980's, Charlton allowed their licenses to lapse due to them finding themselves financial insolvent as a publishing house. Still, Charlton's loss was DC'S gain - and this more successful comic book business bought up all of the Charlton's heroes, and decided to use them in a new project which Alan Moore was creating.


Originally, Alan wanted to use the MLJ Comics' 'Mighty Crusader' heroes in this new murder mystery he was constructing with his old 2001AD pal, Dave Gibbons. However, the then head honcho of DC, Dick Giordano, told him to use the Chalton heroes instead, and not to kill any of them off.


You see, Alan thought that for his tale to work properly as a concept, the reader had to immediately recognize the basic motivations and archetypes behind 'his heroes', so that they would 'feel for them' when he 'harmed' them within his tale . Moreover, Alan also wanted a slightly more political slant to his project too, and took a governmental concept that Paul Levitz honed during his time on a Justice Society of America, and titivated it within his works.

Cute Watchmen
Thankfully, Alan's solution was a simple one really - take the smell of the Charlton heroes, add his own brand of whimsy, get Dave to innovate upon the design, and the rest is now history.

So what next you might wonder? Huh? How will this 'Before Watchmen' stunt play out for DC? Well, personally speaking of course, it can either do one of two things. Firstly, it will turn out cr*p, and people will just ignore it over time (like 'DK2'). Or else, some of the stories will turn out quite good, and people will still ignore it over time.  Agreed you hairy git?

IN RETROSPECT - WATCHMEN IN RETROSPECT - WATCHMEN Reviewed by David Andrews on March 08, 2012 Rating: 5
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